The first game of real money online poker was dealt on January 1, 1998. This historical event occurred at Planet Poker. It was a hand of 3/6 Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em. The ability to play No Limit Texas Hold’em, sit and gos, and tournaments was still years away. Today, the landscape of online poker is dramatically different.
Much has changed since that first hand of online poker. The technology to shuffle hands and build secure sites has improved substantially. Today’s online poker sites are as secure as online banking systems. The same encryption is used to guarantee that the games are safe, funds secure and financial information kept secret.
Players in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have regulated online poker available. Since the poker online poker in these states are regulated, there is an extra layer of protection as the sites are governed by the same gaming commissions that oversee brick and mortar casinos.
Players at regulated sites have a few additional requirements to play. The minimum age is 21. Players must give a Social Security Number to open an account. Geolocation is used to ensure that a player is located in the state to play poker. This is done through wifi positioning or cell phone geolocation.
Players at regulated poker sites must be within state lines to play. Each site is limited to players only within that state. None are networked with sites in other states at this time.
Tremendous efforts have been made to bring back the legality of online poker to the United States. In the big picture of it all, very little has been accomplished. However, Nevadans have been back in action for a few years now. On December 22, 2011, just a few months removed from Black Friday, the Nevada Gaming Commission set forward the process of trying to bring Internet poker back to the Silver State.
After all of that reached a resolution, the first Internet poker site to return to Nevada was on April 30, 2013, a site called Ultimate Poker. The Station Casinos were the ones operating the site, and promoted it greatly inside their properties. Players had the luxury of depositing or withdrawing from their accounts right at the casino cages. This was certainly a nice reprieve. When the UIGEA was passed, even though it was still doable, getting money in and out of your poker accounts was not so easy. This was just part of why Internet poker games also continued to progressively get harder and harder to beat. The majority of the players willing to jump through all of the hoops were the serious players.
Ultimate Poker took off right away. Hundreds of players were on it from the first day. The only people allowed to play were those inside of Nevada. It did not matter if you were a resident of Nevada. In order to ensure that no one just outside the borders of Nevada could play, if you were within a mile of the border, your action was rejected.
On September 17, 2013, WSOP.com was launched, and within a number of weeks had already taken over as the top site. It had been heavily promoted during that previous summer’s World Series of Poker, which helped take players away from Ultimate Poker. The software was way better, and there were many more games available. Texas Hold’em has been the most popular game for years, and that was all you could play at Ultimate Poker. WSOP had 7 card stud, 7 card stud 8/B, Omaha, and Omaha 8/B. It was a far more complete site. Ultimate Poker could not hang. November 17, 2014 was the last day of Ultimate Poker’s short lived existence.
A third Internet poker site entered the mix on February 19, 2014. The site was called Real Gaming, and run by the local South Point casino. Player could deposit and withdraw right at the cage. The only game offered was also Texas Hold’em, and you could only play cash games or single table tournaments. It never stood much of a chance. The graphics and software were weak. Hardly anyone played on the site at a given time; maybe a few dozen people. Stories circulated regarding collusion. Of course, collusion is always going to be a threat when playing online, but for a lesser known low key site that barely has anyone on it to begin with, it already looks the part for potential cheaters to set up shop. The site is believed to have folded sometime during the summer of 2016.
So WSOP.com it is if you are wanting to play Internet poker in Nevada. The VIP program is called The Action Club. Players may earn anywhere from 8-35% rakeback based on how much monthly rake they pay each month. As a new player, you will receive a 100% initial deposit bonus as great as $400. Also, after you make your first deposit of $10, you get tickets for 7 $100 freeroll tournaments. These expire after 7 days.
On July 2, 2015, WSOP.com hosted its first ever bracelet event during that summer’s WSOP. The buy-in was $1,000. They played down to 2 players on the first day, and those 2 met each other to finish the event at the Rio on July 4. This event was repeated during the 2016 WSOP, and will presumably continue in the years to come. During the spring and summer, there are numerous satellite events offered to players to try and get into various WSOP tournaments. Some of these events you may enter for only $1. Others are total freerolls.
The No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games start for as small as 1 cent/2 cent and they progress from there by multiples of 2. The PLO tops off at $25/$50 and NLH goes up to $200/$400. The 7 Card Stud hi and 8/B fixed limit games begin at 5 cent/10 cent and get up to $10/$20.
The fixed limit Hold’em cash games start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $150/$300. There are no limit games for Omaha Hi. The limits for Omaha 8/B start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $50/$100.
The single table Sit-n-Go tournaments start at $1 and go up to $200. You can play a 1 on 1 heads up tournament, 6 handed, or 9 handed. They are also offered as turbo, or super turbo tournaments if you are looking for a fast and furious outcome. All other tournaments also range from the $1 to $200 entry, with the occasional special tournament that requires $500 for entry. $500 events are usually reserved for things like wanting to qualify for the $10,000 main event tournament.
Or if you are just looking to play some poker for fun and don’t have any interest in winning or losing any money, playmoney cash games and tournaments are offered for all of the said poker games.
Along with Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey remains the only other state to have passed any legalization for online gaming. After Black Friday shut everybody down on April 15, 2011, less than 2 years later, Bill 2578 was signed in February of 2013 making Internet gambling, and poker legal again.
Revenue was estimated to bring in a billion dollars in just its first year, but this proved to be setting the bar way too high as only excess of $100 million was generated. Well over half of that was obtained through online casinos and not online poker.
Even though expectations had fallen overwhelmingly short, this was still substantial progression made on the long road back to getting Internet poker legalized across the states. With New Jersey’s population of 9 million, more than double of Nevada’s and Delaware’s combined, it still remains as the most exciting of the 3 states to keep an eye on as Internet poker progresses.
After Bill 2578 came through, New Jersey wasted no time in getting Internet poker action back in rhythm. Inside of one year 6 sites were opened. Caesar’s and Bally’s of Atlantic City were each associated with 888 Poker. The Tropicana teamed up with the Gamesys Group, The Borgata with Bwin.party Digital Enterinament, Trump Plaza with Betfair, and Trump Taj Mahal was also part of Ultimate Poker, the first Nevada poker site to revive online poker.
In time, many of the original NJ online poker sites closed down. In 2018, WSOP.com launched pooled playing fields, where players in DE, NJ and NV could all play on the same site for the first time in a regulated environment.
The most popular online poker game is No Limit Texas Hold’em. This game allows players to bet the entire stack in front of them at any time. The game is spread in the form of cash games, sit and gos, and multi player tournaments at all online poker sites. It is the same game spread by the World Series of Poker Main Event.
All poker sites offer more games than just Texas Hold’em. Omaha and Omaha High/Low are available at any online poker room. Most spread Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud High/Low. Other games available include Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Razz, Badugi, Triple Draw, and mixed games that include a variety of these selections.
The best online poker deposit methods are ewallets. Neteller and Skrill are the most popular ones available. Americans cannot deposit by ewallet in most states. For those players, Visa, Mastercard, and Western Union are the most popular deposit options.
Ewallets are the best way to get paid by poker sites outside of the U.S. Americans can request a check for free that takes about a week to arrive. Western Union is an option that puts cash in hand in just a few days. There is typically a fee for this fast withdrawal option.
All online poker sites offer an initial deposit bonus to new players. It is usually described as a 100% up to a certain dollar amount. This means that the site matches your deposit with bonus money.
Online poker bonuses differ from casino and sports betting ones. A poker bonus goes into a separate account. It is not awarded immediately. Players must earn points to clear a poker bonus. It is usually equivalent to 10-30% rakeback, depending on the site. It often clears in increments of $5 or $10. Most poker sites give a set amount of time to clear a bonus. This is typically somewhere between 30 and 120 days. Some sites will void any remaining bonus if a withdrawal request is made before meeting the terms and conditions. Always make sure to read the bonus rules to see what the qualifications are before playing.
Some sites offer bonuses to existing players that have already made a deposit. This is called a reload bonus. These often come during slow periods like the winter holidays or to celebrate a special event such as a major online poker tournament.
Some sites simply offer a reload bonus every month. The terms are usually the same for reload bonuses as they are for the first deposit one.
There was a day that the answer to this question was no. That day is long gone. Online poker sites offer encryption for all cards and banking transactions that are the same ones used by large financial institutions. The sites do not get hacked. Virtually every site in operation is reputable and has stood the test of time. Many have been in business for 10 years or more, which is a lifetime on the Internet.
There are a few shady sites out there that do not operate legitimately. That does not apply to any of the poker rooms promoted on this site. We stand by all of our selections and play at these sites ourselves.